The Sun Did Stand Still for Joshua

Buffoon Award

The RenewAmerica website is the eighth winner of the Curmudgeon’s coveted Buffoon Award. We haven’t written about their material for more than a year, however, because most of it is too goofy even for us. What we found there today confirms the wisdom of both decisions — the award, and our avoidance of the website.

Their headline is Did the sun stand still for Joshua – scientifically? They don’t have a comments feature. The article was written by Dan Popp, described as “a Christian, a husband, and a small-business owner. Writing has been part of his profession since the late 1970’s.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Scoffers love to laugh at the Old Testament miracle of the “sun standing still.” But the writer of this account may be more scientific than his critics. Let’s start with the science. This is not a trick question, but you must answer carefully: Does the earth revolve around the sun?

Think hard, dear reader. The question is really whether you accept the solar system advocated by Galileo, with the planets orbiting the sun, rather than the biblical description of an Earth-centered system, which we described in The Earth Does Not Move! Danny says:

The scientific answer is, “There’s not enough information to answer the question.” We must know, “From what point of reference?” We can say that the earth revolves around the sun – if we’re standing on the sun. But that point is chosen arbitrarily. From the reference point of a space ship outside the solar system, both the earth and the sun revolve around their common center of gravity.

[…]

If we fly our space ship much farther away, we would answer that both the earth and the sun move together around the center of the galaxy. In a universe where everything is in motion, we can only describe the speed and direction of something in relation to some other moving object that we must arbitrarily think of as “fixed.”

Smart, huh? Danny has explained that the question has no correct answer — it all depends on your point of reference. After that he tells us:

Now let’s look at what the Bible actually says:

Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “O sun, stand still at Gibeon, and O moon in the valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. (Joshua 10:12, 13, NAS95)

Yup. That passage, by the way, was some of the evidence used against Galileo at his heresy trial. Danny continues:

Did you notice that the writer was painstakingly specific about the reference point? From the point of view of an observer at Gibeon, in the valley of Aijalon, the sun stood still in the middle of the sky. From reference point X looking at field Y, motion was observed to cease.

Clever, huh? You gotta define the point of reference. Hey — maybe Joshua and all the combatants were suddenly transported to the North Pole. That would do the job.

Then Danny discusses the interrogation scene in the movie Inherit the Wind, a dramatization of the Scopes Trial, where the Clarence Darrow character was interrogating the William Jennings Bryan character about the sun standing still for Joshua. (The movie’s dialog in that scene is an accurate account of the actual trial transcript, by the way.) After several lines of the movie dialog, Danny announces:

The lawyer Drummond [Darrow] repeatedly misstates what the Bible relates. Then he proceeds to make inferences based on the flawed science of his day. I hope the real Clarence Darrow wasn’t quite this stupid! If we instead take the facts as they’re given, with the sun standing still relative to an observer on the ground at point X, then nothing can be inferred about a pre-Copernican view of the solar system.

See? It’s all relative! Danny devotes a few more paragraphs to defending the bible account. For example:

But what if YHWH simply allowed some people to experience time the way He does? The Creator of space/time doesn’t live each moment consecutively, as we do. … If He were to pull back the curtain and allow us His perspective on the scene, then the sun – and the moon, too – could seem to have stopped. (It may help to think in science fiction terms and say that God “froze time.”)

That makes sense! Let’s read on:

And there are other possible explanations. What is not allowed is to remove relevant details from the text, make invalid inferences, switch assumptions in mid-argument, then laugh as if you had made fools of those dumb, deluded, anti-science Christians.

Are you feeling foolish, dear reader? Quite understandable. Here’s the end of Danny’s essay:

Within my parents’ lifetime, scientists have finally accepted that the universe had a definite beginning (derided by astrophysicist Fred Hoyle as the “Big Bang,”) that elements can be dissolved, and that continents move. The ignorant shepherds who wrote their silly myths in the Bible knew all of those things thousands of years ago. It’s almost as if they had help.

So there you are. According to Danny, the Sun really did appear to stand still for Joshua — and it makes perfect sense.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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28 responses to “The Sun Did Stand Still for Joshua

  1. Carlin summed this up very well…Think how stoopid the average dimwit is! Now realize that 50% are even stoopidier!! or somethin close to that!

  2. “…both the earth and the sun revolve around their common center of gravity.”
    Actually, this is quite true, but it also holds for all the planets in the solar system. The earth-sun barycenter, as for all planets, is well within the sun. But that has nothing to do with stopping the sun or other nonsense being peddled in this article.

  3. Celestial cartographer Dan Popp declares:

    We must know, “From what point of reference?” We can say that the earth revolves around the sun – if we’re standing on the sun.

    Jeepers, he’s right!

    So I need to specify from the reference point of our bower, Olivia tells me how the earth moves for her. And many times each night…

  4. Now this is what I call a scatterbrain. [Muck]ing up Newtonian Inertial Frames of Reference and Galilean Transformations in an unprecedented way (at least for me).

    “We can say that the earth revolves around the sun – if we’re standing on the sun. But that point is chosen arbitrarily.”
    Exactly Sow which point does Mr. Scatterbrain choose?

    “Did you notice that the writer was painstakingly specific about the reference point? From the point of view of an observer at Gibeon, in the valley of Aijalon.”

    Within this Inertial Frame of Reference (a la Newton) the Sun revolves around the Earth and definitely did not stand still one single moment; motion did not cease.

    Those shepherds – if they were the ones who reported it, which is highly doubtful in the first place – had consumed some peculiar hallucinogen. They observed something that did not happen. If Mr. Scatterbrain wants to maintain that that peculiar hallucinogen was from divine origin I won’t contradict him. That he thinks the report is backed up by Newtonian Mechanics suggests that he is under the influence of the same hallucinogen.

  5. Dan Popp left out an example. If one is in a ship above the Earth, with its orbit arranged so that the Sun is always in view, it works! But of course, the Earth will be seen to rotate beneath the ship. Maybe Joshua fought his famous battle in space.

  6. The clever geocentrists of today do not take this way out.
    For if one says that “it’s all relative”, then instead of the Bible being wrong about the Sun (and Moon) standing still, the Bible is just being meaningless:
    there is only relative motion, there is no such thing as standing still. Sad.

    BTW, to say that both the Sun and the Moon were standing still is to say that the distance of the Sun from the Moon remained unchanged, something which is contrary to all models: Ptolemaic, Copernican, Tychonic.

  7. Michael Fugate

    and if you stand on one leg, close one eye, squint with the other and let your imagination run wild, a Ford Pinto will almost look like a Porsche 911.

  8. –especially if the Ford Pinto is coming straight at you at 90mph

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    Why the pseudo-science when he goes right to godidit anyway? “But what if YHWH simply allowed some people to experience time the way He does?”

  10. Michael Fugate

    A Pinto going 90mph would be a miracle…

  11. Charles Deetz ;)

    But from the Pinto, it would be standing still and the earth would be going 90mph. Still a miracle.

  12. Sometimes when I read Biblical apologetics, while I realize it has a Greek origin meaning “defense”, it still seems like they are apologizing for the Bible’s utter stupidity.

  13. A Pinto going 90mph would be a miracle…

    You’re right. Some things are beyond the power of even of The Almighty.

  14. What if God just let living things evolve naturally rather than set up barriers?
    And not mention those barriers in the Bible or give a clue in the world of life.

  15. Plate tectonics and continental drift were mentioned in the bible? I must have missed that reference. Or else, like Dan’s writing here, the Popp family bible really is full of it.

  16. I’m wondering which elements can be dissolved, unless he means Earth, Air Fire & Water.

  17. The Sun standing still for Joshua has little to do with the Earth orbiting the Sun, it depends mostly on the Earth’s rotation about it axis. Similarly, but less so, for the Moon standing still.

  18. Doctor Stochastic

    I suppose Danny will later enlighten us on what happened in Fatima.

  19. Michael Fugate

    Just imagine a 5.972 × 10^24 kg mass spinning at 1,674.4 km/h coming to a screeching halt. Hey, but all things are possible when you believe.

  20. Michael Fugate says:

    Just imagine a 5.972 × 10^24 kg mass spinning at 1,674.4 km/h coming to a screeching halt.

    Randall Munroe kinda did.

  21. “Is it not written in the book of Jashar?”

    So, none of this is a first hand account by anyone involved, but rather from a book which, conveniently, has never been found. I wonder what Ham would say about sources here? Surely, if the writer were directly inspired by God, there would be no need to reference another book for support. On the other hand, if the writer drew the story solely from an earlier lost book, then how can we assume the earlier book was inspired? This story has flimsy support at best.

    An excellent substitute exists, however — see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Jasher_(Pseudo-Jasher)

  22. @AR says, “Im wondering which elements can be dissolved, unless he means Earth, Air Fire & Water.”

    In fact, Earth, Wind and Fire dissolved in 1984, only to reunite about three years later. This clearly violates the 2LoT. Checkmate, Darwinist scum!

  23. I’ve read a fair bit of apologetics on Joshua’s Long Day, and this is one of the worst. It’s basically just a bunch of handwaving to get you confused about reference frames so that you forget that (1) the earth had to stop rotating, and (2) the moon had to stop orbiting, all so Joshua would have more daylight to murder POWs.

  24. Paul D, I loved that last phrase. To me, the biggest mystery is why anyone should even *want* Joshua’s genocide (or Noah’s flood, or the plagues of Egypt) to be true.

  25. Michael Fugate

    The great commandment in the OT seemed to be “enslave or die” while in the NT it was “convert” and then when Christians got power they joined the two “convert, enslave or die”. The thinking being it is better to be a Christian and a slave or dead than to be a free and alive non-Christian.

  26. So god instantly stops the rotation of the Earth to give Joshua extra time to do his ethnic cleansing; Josh, his army, his wretched shofar and most of Jericho and its inhabitants disappear over the eastern horizon at the same 900-plus miles per hour that they were travelling when the Earth was rotating.
    God sez, “Oops, forgot that inertia thing I designed”

  27. But what if YHWH simply allowed some people to experience time the way He does? The Creator of space/time doesn’t live each moment consecutively, as we do. … If He were to pull back the curtain and allow us His perspective on the scene, then the sun – and the moon, too – could seem to have stopped. (It may help to think in science fiction terms and say that God “froze time.”)

    But if God froze time, nobody would know, since all our perceptions would freeze as well.

    And if God allowed humans to see an instant of time as though it were a whole day, why didn’t the Bible say so, instead of stating flat-out that the sun stood still for a full day? Apparently the Bible is literally true as written except when it isn’t.

  28. Remember that for a couple of thousands years (counting 500 BC to AD 1500) no one remarked that the Bible was speaking figuratively about geocentrism. One can hardly argue that this is a case of “obviously meant figuratively”. Whatever one decides is the “real (heliocentric) meaning” of those passages, that is arrived at by extra-Biblical knowledge. What, then, stops one from applying extra-Biblical knowledge in the case of fixity of species – or kinds? (When, I note, there is no proof-text as so universally accepted about fixity of kinds. When was it first “noticed” that the Bible was telling us about fixity of kinds? In what book, chapter, and verse? The distinction between micro- and macro-evolution? In the 20th century?)